Category Archives:
Middle East

What if the Syria no-fly zone won’t fly?

(((James North))) on
F 16 fighter plane of the sort shot down over Serbia when US imposed a no-fly zone in the Balkans

The foreign policy elite in Washington seems to be united on imposing a no-fly zone over Syria. But two veterans with hundreds of combat missions between them contend that Assad’s anti-aircraft capabilities are far too robust to permit such an intervention without significant losses and billions in expenditures.

Calling someone a ‘Zionist’ is anti-Semitic and abusive, say British lawmakers

Allison Deger on
Campaigners in support of Palestinians block traffic in London at a protest on October 17, 2015. (Photo: London Palestine Action/Facebook)

British lawmakers have said the word “Zionist” as a pejorative “has no place in a civilised society” and recommend considering a victim’s feelings when deciding if a criminal investigation into anti-Semitism should be launched, said an annual report on anti-Semitism published last week by a cross-party group in Parliament.

B’Tselem calls on world to ‘intervene’ to stop ‘more perfect occupation,’ and Netanyahu goes ballistic

Philip Weiss on
Hagai El-Ad, director of B'Tselem

Hagai El-Ad, the head of the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, urged the United Nations Security Council to take action at last against the occupation because, “The reality will not change if the world does not intervene. I suspect that our arrogant government also knows this, so it’s busy fearmongering against such an intervention.” Netanyahu has responded in outrage.

‘State of Terror,’ by Thomas Suárez

David Gerald Fincham on
1946 train bombing, image from Tom Suarez's book State of Terror

The new book State of Terror, by Thomas Suárez, documents the willingness of Zionists to use violence to establish a Jewish state, and proves beyond doubt that Israel is not the perpetual victim of Arab violence that it claims to be, but has been the aggressor throughout the history of the conflict.

The Jewish confession on a future Yom Kippur

Marc H. Ellis on
Israeli soldier praying on a tank.

Marc Ellis writes, “Another Yom Kippur has arrived. That special time of reflection and confession is upon us. Yet the reflection and confessional pickings are slim. In the mainstream Jewish communities of Israel and America there has been little reflection. The confession we Jews should have made, the confession we Jews have to make, won’t be made today.”

‘We don’t know where our friends are,’ says Women’s Boat to Gaza after Israel’s navy commandeers ship

Allison Deger on
(Photo: Kia Ora Gaza)

An all-women crew sailing toward the shores of occupied Gaza were taken into Israeli naval custody this afternoon, ending their month-long sea voyage to “break the siege on Gaza.” The Israeli military said the vessel was still in international waters at the time of the “uneventful” interception, around 35-nautical miles from the Israeli port of Ashdod.

The secret location for a debriefing on Palestinian art at the Guggenheim

Mariam C Said on
The artist Samia Halaby

Mariam Said registered up for a one-on-one debriefing on Palestinian art before 1948 at the Guggenheim Museum and was told it would take place “at a secret location within the museum.” The presentation was given by an Israeli man who shared no video or slides or any visual piece of art except for three pieces he showed on his cell phone. Said left feeling that she had been taken on a ride, and since has been asking what all this was about.

Palestine, ‘safety’ and the UC Berkeley affair

Juliana Farha on
"Palestine: A settler-colonial analysis" course poster. (Image via Palestine Legal)

The initial decision for Berkeley to cancel the course ‘Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis’ was located within the transparently self-serving but now widespread claim that any discussion of Palestinian human rights or Israeli violations of international law constitutes a threat to the ‘safety’ of Jewish students. In reality, Juliana Farha writes, this shoddy affair and similar incidents make clear that for university administrators, legislators and others, it is Palestinian students and defenders of Palestinian rights that should have no expectation of safety.

Abbas and Levy issue calls to end Nakba denial

Philip Weiss on
Photo from Haifa, May 12, 1948, showing Hagana soldiers forcing Palestinians to leave the city with their belongings. It appeared with Gideon Levy's column in Haaretz yesterday.

“Nakba denial beats denial of the Holocaust,” Gideon Levy says, while Mahmoud Abbas calls on the world to acknowledge the expulsion 68 years later. But American denial of the Nakba remains as strong as ever.

In a world of conflict, peace is celebrated only one day out of the year

Dakota Rakestraw on
A logo for the International Day of Peace

Today, September 21st, is International Day of Peace. In a world of conflict, we have quarantined its solution to a single day, a day of peace. As Americans, peace is something we volunteer to achieve in our spare time, but for a Palestinian, peace is the only hope of a future life.

ADL throws Netanyahu under the bus to try to make new friends

Yakov Hirsch on
Jonathan Greenblatt

The new head of the ADL, Jonathan Greenblatt, seized the opportunity to throw Netanyahu under the bus for his “Ethnic cleansing” video, in an effort to reach out to young American progressives. It won’t work. Young progressives don’t like Israel, and the ADL does.

‘There’s no occupation’

Jonathan Ofir on
David Ben-Gurion, after leaving office in 1953

Israel is not an occupier, says Israel’s former ambassador to Canada, Peter Baker. But the history of Israeli expansion since 1948 could not be clearer: it seeks more and more land with as few Arabs on it as possible, and destroys not just the villages but the memory of those places.

Paralympic medalist Hossam Azzum on his comeback journey from Gaza to Rio

Mohammed Asad on
Hossam Azzum trains at the Al Jazeera Club in southern Gaza, practicing in a small sandlot. (Photo: Mohammed Asad)

Gaza’s Hossam Azzum is competing in his fourth Paralympics Games in Rio on September 14, 2016. In the 2000 Sydney Games Azzum won a bronze medal becoming the first Palestinian medalist among disabled and non-disabled competitors. But six years ago Azzum took a break from competing after his wife died during childbirth. Then, in 2014, his house was destroyed by the Israeli military during the 51-day war on Gaza. Now, Azzum plans his comeback in Rio.

Israeli government projects ‘ethnic cleansing’ on Palestinians

Jonathan Ofir on
Netanyahu's speech after killing of Jewish settler girl, June 30

Twice in the last ten days, the Netanyahu government has adopted a new spin-strategy: taking the term “ethnic cleansing”, which the world has increasingly become aware that Israel enacts, and turning it against its Palestinian victims.

The United States of Innocence — the worldview of Major Todd Pierce (retired), Part 2

Philip Weiss on
Todd Pierce in his home in Roseville, MN

Read part two of a lengthy interview with Guantanamo defense lawyer Major Todd Pierce (Retired) in which he relates his beliefs about American society today: that our wars in the Middle East have been fostered by propaganda and falsehood, including claims about radical Islam, and that the elites have fallen in line in a way that they did not do during Vietnam, and these developments threaten our democracy.

Marc Lynch warns against the U.S. escalation in Syria

(((James North))) on
Marc Lynch's new book, The New Arab Wars

Advocates for U.S. escalation in Syria will make a bad situation worse, warns George Washington University Professor Marc Lynch; and President Obama’s resistance to increased intervention may be reversed by his successor.

Syrian death tolls and the kinder gentler jihadists

Donald Johnson on
File photo of shelling from inside of Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria, April 2015. (Photo: Jafra Foundation for Youth Development and Relief)

The answer to a failed intervention is, more intervention. And to justify such a policy, the interventionist media cite low civilian casualty figures in the Iraq war, and now appears to be grossly undercounting civilian deaths caused by rebels in Syria.

‘Everything that we have done since 9/11 is wrong’ — the worldview of Major Todd Pierce (Retired)

Philip Weiss on
Todd Pierce, in Roseville, MN

Guantanamo defense lawyer Todd Pierce was an army computer technician when he witnessed the U.S. implant itself in Saudi Arabia in 1990, and an Army lawyer when he saw the hysteria following 9/11. He says Americans have no idea why Arabs and Muslims hate us, and meantime we are losing our historic legitimacy by conducting drone warfare on civilians and sacrificing our tradition of civil rights.

‘Democracy’ and ‘terrorism’ and the parameters of thinkable thought

Thomas S. Harrington on
Freedom fighters: Nelson Mandela greeted by Yasser Arafat in Gaza. Reuters photo.

As long as we accept the blithe use of terms like “terrorist” to refer to Palestinians fighting for basic dignity or accept the matter-of-fact description of Israel as a “democracy”, we lose the game. Those terms have been carefully designed to leave no room for a true dialogue of ideas. We need to stop expending our energies on arguments within their parameters of thinkable thought.